Windows Mobile 7 delayed to late 2010

With its rivals eating into its market share, Microsoft has now admitted its next mobile operating system could be as much as a year away.

Windows Mobile

The Windows Mobile 7 mobile operating system will only be released in "late 2010", according to a Microsoft executive.

Speaking at the Connect technology summit in London, Microsoft UK head of mobility Phil Moore said the next Windows Mobile system had "been put back until late next year but it is definitely coming".

The latest developments come just weeks after Microsoft Office vice president Kurt Delbene was reported as claiming that Windows Mobile 7 was scheduled for release in March 2010.

With the recently released Windows Mobile 6.5 widely accepted as simply a stop-gap release, the news that an all-new version of the mobile OS is still a year away is bad news for Microsoft and users.

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The latest figures from market analyst Gartner show Windows Mobile's market share for the third quarter of 2009 has fallen 28 per cent from the same period last year.

Microsoft has been hurt by the strength of rival offerings from Apple and Google, a face that Moore conceded during the Connect summit Q&A.

"We're still playing catch-up," he admitted. "When Apple came on to the scene a couple of years ago, it threw away the rulebook and reinvented it. We unfortunately don't have that luxury. It's true, Apple caught us all napping. It launched something that was very iconic, new and unseen with a very good user interface."

And with a new iPhone expected in mid-2010 and Google's Android 2.1 update not far off, things could get worse for Microsoft before they get better.

However, Moore remains confident that Windows Mobile 7 has a bright future regardless of when it appears. "You're going to see a lot more on Windows Mobile 7," he said.

"Giving the enterprise users and consumers what they want will be part of Windows Mobile 7. You'll get flexibility on a much easier touch UI."

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